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The Hall Staffing Group

General Resume Tips

Here are a few recommendations that will make your resume "scanner friendly:"

  • Try not to fold a resume that is going to be scanned
  • Use white paper and black ink
  • Use original printed resumes. Don't use machine-duplicated, -enlarged, or -reduced copies
  • Don't underline words
  • Avoid formatting your text into tables, columns, or using graphics
  • In choosing a typeface, stay away from script or "fancy" fonts. Look for a plain, sans serif typeface with clean spacing between characters (This is typed in "Arial"). If you must choose a serif typeface, choose a standard font such as Times (This is typed in "Times").
  • Type size should be at least 10-12 point and all letters should be of the same quality (no light or broken letters, no smudgy or filled-in letters, etc.). Letters tend to "fill-in" or touch with the smaller type sizes.
  • Use adequate margins (at least 1/2" on all sides). Be aware that if your margins are too narrow and you fax your resume, a receiving fax machine will quite often reduce the size of print on the entire page in an effort to not lose any print close to the edge of the printed page.
  • Don't handwrite anything on your resume
  • If using a dot matrix printer, utilize the best quality type the printer provides (i.e. letter quality, dark copy). The dots per inch should be at least 300.
  • Try to use standard characters, such as a dash, asterisk or round bullet in place of boxes, arrows, ellipses, or other unusual configurations.
Things you SHOULD do with your resume
  • Use 8-1/2"x11" paper.
  • Make your resume as legible as possible and only include necessary personal information
  • Include both a permanent contact and present address and phone number. You may be contacted through a permanent number, long after you have moved
  • Include your job discipline(s) near your name at the top of page one of your resume and on each assignment
  • Include a summary paragraph near the top of your resume. Be brief, complete and include buzzwords. Omission of just one buzzword can prevent retrieval of your resume in a search
  • List jobs in reverse chronological order
  • Be consistent in calling out similar information (i.e., Jan. 98 or January 1998 or 1/98)
  • List "under contract to" for any contract assignments you may have worked
  • Give security status, if any. If your security clearance has expired, include the date of expiration
  • Write job descriptions in easy-to-understand terms, and as completely as space allows
  • Include your name and page number on each page of a multiple-page resume (do not number first page)
  • If you have a length problem due to extensive number of job assignments, leave the oldest positions off and type "Experience from (date) to (date) available upon request." Then prepare a "complete" resume to furnish only to firms asking for it.
  • If you want to use a better quality paper, consider a white bond paper with a rag content (available from most printers or paper supply stores). Rag bond, however, should not be used if you are printing copies on a photocopier or laser printer, since any machine that uses toner and heat has a tendency to "flake" along creases of that kind of paper.
Things you SHOULD NOT do with your resume
  • Don't include personal references or hobbies
  • Don't include your Social Security number
  • Don't include a cover sheet (unless you have important information that cannot be included on your resume)
  • Don't use a "Job Objective." This is normally on a resume for someone seeking a "captive" position. A "Job Objective" tells the firms what you want from them, a "Summary" tells what you can do.
  • Don't exaggerate your experience
  • Don't show salary or pay information
  • Don't offer explanations for leaving prior employers
  • Don't use your photograph
  • Don't use uncommon abbreviations (acceptable acronyms in the engineering/technical fields, such as IBM, CAD, UGII, HTML, VB, RDB, etc. are fine)

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